When I was diagnosed with Candida ten years ago, I was actually relieved. I had been searching for an answer for the majority of my life, visiting countless doctors and undergoing test after test after test. Being poked and prodded for most of my teens left me very anxious and depressed. I was bloated all day everyday and had terrible stomach pains. I suffered from chronic fatigue where it became impossible to get out of bed in the morning. My skin was terrible. cystic acne everywhere... and it was so painful.
When I was finally introduced to Holistic Medicine, my whole life changed. Within days of following my Naturopathic Doctor's advice to remove Candida, a weight was lifted off of me. For the first time in my entire life, I wasn't bloated. Of course my healing journey to cure Candida was not that simple. I had to follow a protocol for awhile to make sure it had been eliminated. And even now, I still have some setbacks. However, my quality of life is so much better than it used to be.
When I decided to become a Holistic Health Coach, I made it my duty to research gut health so that I could help others lift this burden too. Throughout my studies, I discovered that Candida is much more common than we think. In fact, an average of 70% of Americans are effected by a Candida overgrowth in their lifetime.
Candida is a fungus, which is a form of yeast, and a very small amount of it lives in your mouth and intestines. Its main job? Helping out with digestion and nutrient absorption. It's important to understand that everyone has Candida in their system, but when overproduced, Candida can break down the wall of the intestines and penetrate the bloodstream — releasing toxic by-products into your body and causing leaky gut. This can lead to many different health problems, from digestive issues to depression.
Common symptoms of Candida:
Skin and nail fungus
Feeling tired or worn out, chronic fatigue
Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea
Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, psoriasis, scleroderma, or multiple sclerosis
Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHA, and brain fog
Skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, hives, rashes
Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, depression
Vaginal infection, urinary track infections, rectal itching, or vaginal itching
Severe allergies or itchy ears
Strong carbohydrate and sugar cravings
You may be thinking, well, some of these apply to me but how do I know if it is Candida? There are many variables along the way. Some people are born with Candida. It can be common or associated higher risk with c-section babies because they are not exposed to some nutrients when born. Even as a baby, I struggled with many digestive issues and back then, doctors did not have enough research to understand what I was going through. If you weren't born with it and one day it started rearing its ugly head, chances are you acquired it from these following pathways.
Things that contribute to the direct cause of Candida:
Eating a diet high in refined carbs and sugar
Consuming alcohol daily or in excess
Taking oral contraceptives (birth control)
Living a high-stress lifestyle
Taking a round of antibiotics that killed too many of the good bacteria
1. Diet high in sugar
Consistently consuming high sugar foods feed the Candida bacteria, causing it to multiply. Sounds gross right? It is! They actually thrive off sugar. This includes white sugar but also any foods that converts to sugar like white potatoes and white flour.
2. Chronic Stress
Stress affects your entire body, which can lead to excess Candida. One of your body’s first reactions to a stressful situation is to release cortisol, a hormone that suppresses your immune system and raises your blood sugar level. The Candida yeast feeds on the extra sugar, while your weakened immune system is powerless to stop it. Stress gives it the chance to overpower the existing gut flora in your small intestine.
3. Overuse of antibiotics
Antibiotics serve their purpose when needed, but in extended doses and excessive use, they break down our healthy bacteria and disrupt our gut flora. This, in turn, weakens the immune system, making it nearly impossible for the body to fight off disease, especially Candida.
4. Birth Control
According to TheCandidaDiet.com (a great trusted resource for Candida info) an outbreak of Candida can be traced to the contraceptive pill. The intestines depend on the right environment to support them, and this equilibrium can be thrown off by the hormonal imbalances caused by the contraceptive pill.
By disturbing this balance, the contraceptive pill opens the door for Candida to once again outgrow its competitors in the gut. Estrogen, the major ingredient in the contraceptive pill, is known to promote the growth of yeast. If you need evidence of how this can happen, see how many women get regular yeast infections while on the pill. It’s exactly the same principle, and it has been documented by multiple research studies.
5. Non-organic food
By exposing yourself to genetically modified foods (GMO's) and pesticides, your immune system breaks down making it more susceptible to yeast. Buying organic food can help to reduce your exposure to antibiotics. An astounding 55% of the antibiotics used in the US are in the livestock industry. Herds of cattle are fed antibiotics to keep mortality rates low and profit margins high. Some of these residual antibiotics make their way onto our plates in foods like beef and milk. This has become so widespread that the European Union has banned it completely and won’t even import beef that has been raised with antibiotics.
Reducing your exposure to these five pathways will significantly decrease your Candida overgrowth but there are additional steps that need to take place.
First: you need to REMOVE the yeast. To remove the yeast you basically have to starve off the cells from reproducing. It can take up to six months to remove the bad bacteria so it is important to stay strong through the process.
The two most important aspects of ridding Candida: Diet and Lifestyle.
Diet Changes - Avoid toxic triggers:
Lifestyle Changes - Stress less
Stress is one of the biggest contributors to Candida. Stress ignites the reproduction of the cells, so it is very important for you to take care of yourself mentally and not overextend yourself when trying to eliminate Candida. Here are a few helpful tools for decreasing the stress in your life:
Journal (get those unwanted thoughts out of your head)
Avoid or manage toxic relationships
Take a weekend trip to unwind
Choose yourself first
Out of all these rituals, journaling is my favorite. It provides a road map to your health. I often find it extremely helpful when assisting my clients and helping them understand their body and its reactions.
Healthy daily rituals
It is really important during your detox of Candida to take it really easy. When the body disposes of the excess yeast, it can be very overwhelming on the immune system. Proper rest and relaxation is key in your recovery. Slowing down your workouts and focusing on self-care is helpful too. It is common that people will experience cold and/or flu-like symptoms too, but remember that taking an antibiotic for these will only delay your success. It's best to weather it our with vitamins and bone broth.
Having structure around your day helps to keep the stress at bay. Also, these healthy rituals will help your body DETOX the yeast faster.
Hot Epsom salt baths
Hot water with lemon and cayenne
Drinking room temperature spring water
Alternating hot/cold showers
The most important thing to remember is you are not alone. Many people are struggling with these symptoms and making these changes all the time. If you are looking for a supportive community with other people going through this then join my crew. The JRW Crew is a wonderful Facebook community of women who are all on their healing journey and support one another. Join here.
Is there testing for Candida?
Yes there are many tests that will show Candida. Spit and blood are the best ways. I perform a simple finger prick blood test for my clients through a company called KBMO Diagnostics. Additionally, they test for food sensitivities and inflammation in the body. I have done over 50 of these tests on clients in the last year and at least 50% of them were high in Candida. If this test is something you have interest in, you can book a complimentary consultation here so we can connect.
Supplements that support and eliminate Candida
Additionally, you can support your body with supplementation. There are a few different products you will want to include in an Anti-Candida protocol. An anti-fungal is almost always needed. This will help remove bacteria. You will also want to provide some good bacteria to through a quality probiotic. Lastly, you will want to work on healing the gut lining with an amino acid like L-Glutamine or Aloe. Be careful about purchasing some supplements online or low quality ones because they can cause more harm than good. I offer a professional grade products to my clients from a company called Xymogen. Xymogen is an exclusive to health care providers. They do not sell online through amazon, eBay, etc. in order to maintain the integrity of the product. As a Health Coach, I am not allowed to give out supplement advice to anyone who is not a current client, however I understand when someone may want some simple advice and recommendations for the interim.
That is why I have my Mini Consult. It’s done by phone for 40 minutes iand is $60. We will go over health history and concerns. Then I am able to provide you with a solid recommendation for your supplement protocol and specific instructions personal to you.
Ready to jump in head first? I have a Get Started Anti-Candida guide packed with more information on Candida plus:
foods to eat
foods not to eat
7-day meal plan
grocery shopping list
recipes that help fight Candida
To get this guide, all you have to do is follow me on Instagram, tag 3 friends that would benefit from my Instagram page, and then send me a direct message with your email address. Then, I will email you the guide and you can start healing!
Lastly, you can make huge stride by checking out my FREE 5-Day Fix: Beat the Bloat guide. It is full of helpful information to start your healing journey. This guide has my top 5 tips that I tell anyone struggling with digestive issues. Keep in mind, it’s not always what you eat but how you eat it.
Xo Jaclyn Renee